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Imaging diagnosis for anterior talofibular ligament injury: a systemic review with meta-analysis

Cao M, Liu S, Zhang X, Ren M, Xiao Z, Chen J, Chen X

Acta Radiologica 2022 Mar 27:Epub ahead of print

systematic review

A definite diagnosis of ankle ligament injury is crucial, and many imaging examinations can be used. This review systematically analyzed the effectiveness of various examination methods in the diagnosis of anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) injuries. Three English databases (PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library) and three Chinese databases (CNKI, VIP Database, and Wanfang Database) were searched and relevant studies were summarized. A total of 25 randomized controlled trials met the selection criteria, including six, 16, and three studies recruiting patients with acute, chronic, and both acute and chronic ATFL injuries, respectively. A total of 1,409 participants were included. The pooled sensitivity rates of acute ATFL injuries were 82.1% (77.1% to 86.5%) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and 88.6% (82.0% to 93.5%) by ultrasonography (US). The pooled sensitivity rates of chronic ATFL injuries were 86.3% (82.5% to 89.5%) by MRI, 98.7% (95.3% to 99.8%) by US, 74.4% (63.6% to 83.4%) by stress radiography, and 100% (87.7% to 100.0%) for MR arthrography. The pooled specificity rates of acute ATFL injuries were 37.8% (29.1% to 47.2%) by MRI and 90.3% (80.1% to 96.4%) by US. The pooled specificity rates of chronic ATFL injuries were 86.8% (81.3% to 91.2%) by MRI, 94.0% (85.4% to 98.3%) for US, 89.4% (76.9% to 96.5%) by stress radiography and 100% (54.1% to 100.0%) by MR arthrography. In conclusion, US may be a valuable imaging technique with high sensitivity for diagnosing chronic lateral ankle ligament injuries.

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